King Out of This World
The good thief said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him,” Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Lk 23:35-43
34th SUNDAY Christ the King Cycle C
When Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time before He was crucified, He accepted the people’s royal welcome for Him. But He rode a donkey not a horse for a king rides a horse to battle but a donkey if his purpose is peace. Thus when Pilate asked Him later if He was king, His answer was “Yes I am a king but a different one – out of this world.”
Jesus is definitely king, but His kingdom is not of this world. His Kingdom is a that of love, peace, justice, holiness and grace. Thus, He preached love and not hate for enemies. He sought to serve and not to be served. He lost His life to gain for us salvation.
During medieval times when soldiers still fought with swords, spears and arrows, the king’s banner has an important role in battle. It is the rallying point of the army as it moves on the battle ground. Everyone fights without losing sight of this banner so as not to fall behind enemy lines. Christ is Our King and we fight His battle. As Christians we are careful not to wander far from His banner. And His banner over us is love, peace, justice, holiness, grace, truth and life.
Do we love? Or is there someone we hate? Are we at peace or is there a person we cannot forgive? Are we just or unfair? Do we still care if we do good or bad? Do we still know the difference between lying and telling the truth? Do we live a full life?
On Calvary Jesus had presented Himself as king in the most unlikely manner. He sat on His throne that was the wooden cross. He held His scepter, the cold nails. He put on His crown of woven thorns and wore a robe of His own crimson blood. But in such a state not one recognized Him as King. The soldiers mocked Him, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” Pilate had a written notice pinned above him: “Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews”. The rulers, the people watching taunted Him to descend from the cross to save Himself as He had saved others before. Not one saw Him as king except for the good thief who said: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Only he saw the king under the bloody mask of suffering. Can we see a king on that bloody cross?
Indeed it is also a challenge for us today to see Jesus as King underneath His mangled humanity – to see that Jesus is king even when we are in middle of our very own present pain and sorrow.